What is Preterism?

From L’Avenir:

II. THE ANTI-PROTESTANT PRATERITE (PRETERIST-ed.)THEORY.

This was originated by a Spanish Jesuit also, Alcasar of Seville, who, A.D. 1615, published a work having in view the same end as Ribera, viz., to set aside the Protestant application of the Apocalyptic prophecies and symbols. Ribera endeavored to throw everything forward into the future. Alcasar endeavoured to throw every thing backward into the past. He stops short in the course of history, and makes all the Apocalyptic symbols to have been fulfilled within the first five six centuries. The Germanic Neronic Form; so called because it dates the Apocalypse (an essential point for interpreters) about the end of Nero’s reign, A.D. 67 and because it is thus regarded by the critical, rationalistic school of German expositors, and by Professor Stuart in America. According to this view, the Apocalypse can only refer to the overthrow of Judaism and Heathenism, and the triumph of Christianity, but not to the Papacy. The early date, viz., A.D. 67, makes room for supposing a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; and the six centuries, for the overthrow of heathenism, and the prevalence of Christianity, but not for the demolition of the Roman Catholic Church! The Papal Domitianic Form; so called because it fixes the date of the Apocalypse about the end of Domitian’s reign, A.D. 96; and in this form prevails with the Papacy. Of course, this form of the theory excludes application of the symbols of the Apocalypse to the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred twenty-five years previous to this date, inasmuch as the events recorded were to come into being after the time John wrote.-(Rev. 4:1). The fall of Judaism and the doom of the Roman Catholic Church are not referred to at all, but only the overthrow of Heathenism and the triumph of Christianity. Such is the loose and wholesale mode of generalising in these two forms of Praeterism (the latter of which has yet some truth), that any upstart has a precedent before him for applying the Apocalyptic symbols to the destruction of any enemy he please.

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